Petal @ Omnibus Theatre Review

We’re inundated with data continually, our electronic devices one click away from the latest friend request, news story or glossy photo, amongst a plethora of other things. A couple of decades into our ‘Information Age’ whereby social media is now our main means of communicating and connecting with loved ones as well as forming new bonds and we’re now really starting to see the impact of this ever evolving phenomena and its prevalence within the day to day. An exploration of the darker aspects of social media – the instant fame that comes from going viral, the trolling and cyber bullying that comes from this and the need for better mental health precautions, writer Susan Momoko Hingley and Honey-Tongued Theatre Productions present Petal.

Petal is the epitome of your social media influencer, having formed part of the latest ‘Love Loft’ season, a reality TV show whereby contestants search for their other half, this platform acts a springboard to further establish a career in the limelight, to which she goes onto start up her own baking YouTube channel and garner mass praise on Instagram. What we see is the private aspect of fame, the behind the scenes efforts that go into this and the impact this has on relationships, friendships and family versus the public, finished, perfectly polished products that come in the form of perfectly edited baking tutorials and images on social media. Petal cleverly swaying back and forth between these two states to show the complexity of where we’re currently at and how we’re at the moment dealing with it.

Momoko Hingley crafts a sharp obrservation of the social influencer age and the toll that instant fame can take, from the heartlessness of cyber bullying – although social media brings us closer together, the anonymity of hiding behind an account causing distance. Maryhee Yoon’s Petal perfectly capturing a naievety, an ambitious soul determined to make a name for herself on the online realm, Momoko Hingley’s Mina – Petal’s older sister, straight talking. Stern, she questions her younger sister’s career choices and whether she’s lost the essence of who she really is. Jonathan Oldfield’s Alex, Petal’s seemingly oblivious ‘Love Loft’ love interest on screen, in reality a sweet supportive soul behind the cameras, Geraint Rhys’ Tony, the founder of an influential foundation created in response to the devastating impact of cyber bullying on a family member a mysterious, complex energy.  Ragga Dahl Johansen directs a vivid, thought provoking evening, one filled with striking tableaus that mirror the awe and gloss of social media’s never ending stream of perfection yet heightens the show’s prevalent themes of mental health and emotional turmoil to pinpoint exactly where we’re at technologically.

Review written by Lucy Basaba.

Petal is currently showing until Sunday 29th May 2022 at the Omnibus Theatre. To find out more about the production, visit here…

Written by Theatrefullstop